…again. I wonder how a writer who has written for so long can be hesitant to continue. No matter how many years I’ve done this, a new writing project brings up the same anxieties: an insistence that I “cook” the material longer—in order to delay beginning; a lack of confidence in my ability to accomplish the project; not knowing how or where my characters will lead; wondering how long the project will take and whether it will be publishable.
Beginning is terrible. That’s all there is to it. Once I start writing, I experience the same anxieties but to a lesser degree each morning until, after several days, they cease entirely. I’m not alone in my misery. I know other writers suffer the same self-defeating thoughts. Regardless, I still must put my seat in the chair and write.
Believe me, it’s not a glamorous life. People tell me how exciting it must be that I’m an author and how much they want to write a book. They don’t have a clue about the writing life and what it demands. It’s like saying, “Someday I’d like to be in a Broadway musical.” Most never go beyond thinking about it. To those who do understand what might be involved, I say, “Well, do it then! Stop talking about it.” I think the writer in me—the miserable one—wants as much company as possible.
There are days in this writing life when I throw my hands up in holy horror and say to myself, This is ridiculous! Writing is torture, and I’m sick of it! Those are days when I spend a great deal of time getting very little done. A different life—one without writing—appeals to me. I want to dedicate my efforts elsewhere: catch up on homemaking and gardening, spend time with husband, children, grandchildren and friends. But before a few weeks pass, my mind starts writing without me. I dream sequential scenes of a story. An unsettled feeling that something is missing overwhelms me. Other interests begin to bore me, and while doing them, I feel wasted and misdirected. I start rewriting others’ books in my head—while I’m reading them. My emotional outlet is missing, and those closest to me can tell. 😦 Finally, I open my office doors, as well as my mind, to begin again.
A different me opens those doors every morning. Sometimes, I clench the door handle like it’s a sword and I’m going to do battle. Sometimes I open them wide, as if to let in a breath of fresh air. At times I get a knot in my stomach when I pass over the threshold. However, once I start a new writing project and my anxieties recede, I can’t wait to open my office doors and find out where the writing leads. My author legs are back under me, two hours pass like 20 minutes and I must admit I am enjoying myself.
Ain’t that a kick?